When a case goes international

What to expect with an overseas investigation

In today’s interconnected world, investigations sometimes lead beyond borders. If the intelligence firm is part of a global network, that shouldn’t present a problem. But approaches differ based on local laws and how information about a person’s reputation can be accessed. Here’s an idea of what to expect.

Typical cross-border work

Our international cases most commonly involve litigation, property searches, due diligence and reputational research.

What’s different outside the U.S.

The biggest difference is that in many countries, public records are not as accessible or comprehensive as they are in the U.S. That means investigators may need to rely on human sources on the ground who are able to investigate companies, property or personal backgrounds at the local level.

Second, in foreign countries, investigators may be allowed a wider range of fact-finding methods than are legal or considered ethical in the U.S. As an example, in some places, an investigator can pretend to be a journalist, delivery driver, or some other occupation to gain the trust of a source. Even if these tactics are not illegal in the country the work is being performed, we require an investigation to adhere to U.S. laws and ethical standards.

Examples of recent cases

Case study details have been changed to preserve anonymity.

  • Investigation in India: A client in the U.S. was conned out of hundreds of thousands of dollars after receiving supposed court documents from India. The “court order” demanded the payment to release someone from prison over a debt. In an unusual twist, the individual in the U.S. refused to believe they’d been scammed. Our India investigator was able to prove it.
  • UK property search: A U.S. client was considering a lawsuit against someone who was believed to have property in the UK, where not all property records are available online. Our UK investigators uncovered a substantial amount of real estate there as well as in New Zealand.
  • Litigation searches: We regularly conduct litigation searches in other countries as part of background and due diligence cases. For instance, if a client wants to know of any significant legal disputes or reputational risks with a potential business partner who has lived abroad for a long time, we can seek criminal and civil litigation records in all the countries they’ve lived.
  • Industry insiders: For clients who need local business intelligence in a foreign country, we’ll sometimes hire an investigator with country contacts in that particular industry to gather important information there from other industry sources.

A U.S.-based firm with international reach

Waterfront handles cases in dozens of strategic locations around the world through a go-to network of trusted affiliates. Using vetted on-the-ground teams, we can offer our clients a single channel for a broader investigation, and a one-stop shop for all their investigative needs.

Read more about our international capabilities, or get in touch today for a free, private consultation. Email [email protected] or call us at 415-905-0462.